|Mike Milbury on D&H: ‘I’m not going to miss Blake Wheeler’||02.23.11 at 12:52 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Looking at the Bruins’ recent flurry of moves, Milbury said he’ll miss defenseman Mark Stuart ‘ “a great depth defenseman and a terrific guy and a character guy” ‘ who was sent to the Thrashers. However, he isn’t lamenting the loss of Blake Wheeler, also sent to Atlanta. “I’m not going to miss Blake Wheeler,” Milbury said. “I thought he was a near-miss ‘ a near-miss when he went to hit a guy, a near-miss when he went to shoot a puck. It looked like he was a ball of energy, but when the moment of truth came, he came up short for me. That was a hole that needed to be patched.”
Added Milbury: “I think Peter Chiarelli did a great job in acquiring character players. I think the third and fourth lines for the Bruins, however they construct them right now, will be as good as anybody else’s third and fourth lines in the National Hockey League. The defense is solid. The [Tomas] Kaberle addition brings them the puck-moving guy that they wanted. I still wish they had somebody else that could deliver it to the net with some authority, but I’m certainly not going to complain about that.”
Milbury said the Bruins’ success will come down to this: “Are the top six forwards on the Bruins good enough to get it done?”
One of the players giving the B’s reason for hope is winger Brad Marchand. “His assets are significant,” Milbury said. “He’s got great speed. He’s got courage ‘ he’s totally unafraid to go where he needs to go. He’s got a terrific shot. I’m not really prepared to say how well he sees the whole ice, he sees it well enough. He’s put himself in position for people to say ‘ obviously, time will tell, but it looks like he could be a top-six forward.”
Looking elsewhere around the league, the Devils are red hot ‘ eight straight wins and a 16-1-2 record in their last 19 games ‘ and Milbury said he’s pulling for them to resurrect their season and make the playoffs, with a caveat. “I don’t know that they’re going to make it, but I sure hope they do,” he said. “I hope they make it and get knocked out in the first round, because they’re still boring as hell.”
|Milan Lucic scores twice as Bruins top Flames||02.22.11 at 11:41 pm ET|
Lucic opened the scoring just 59 seconds into the game when he went hard to the net and redirected David Krejci‘s centering pass by Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff (26 saves) for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.
Brad Marchand added some insurance 5:55 into the third when he gathered the puck in the right circle and wristed it under the crossbar for his 19th goal.
Curtis Glencross made things interesting with a power-play goal that cut the lead in half with 2:33 to go, but Lucic sealed the win with an empty-netter with 47 seconds remaining.
Thomas improved to 27-8-6 with the win and he continues to lead the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
-The Flames were hot coming in, having won three in a row and 11 of their last 14, but the B’s were able to pour some water on them and quiet the crowd early on. They got on the board less than a minute in when they caught Calgary in a line change. Adam McQuaid moved the puck up to Krejci to create an odd-man rush and Krejci faked a shot before centering for Lucic.
-Krejci continued his stretch of hot play, as he assisted on both of Lucic’s goals to give him six points in his last three games and 13 in his last 11. He had a goal and an assist in Thursday’s win over the Islanders and followed that up with two more assists in Friday’s win against the Senators.
-Marchand added to his impressive rookie season with his third goal in his last two games. The marker came as the result of hard work from the entire second line. Patrice Bergeron forced a turnover with a hard check in the corner and then went to the net to redirect Andrew Ference‘s shot right to Marchand, who was left with an open cage to shoot at.
-It seemed like there were bodies and pucks zipping around the front of the Boston net all night, but Thomas stood tall between the pipes. His biggest save came with a little more than four minutes left in the game when he flashed the leather and snagged Olli Jokinen‘s one-timer from the slot. It turned out to be even bigger than it appeared at the time given the fact the Flames scored less than two minutes later.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
-Despite jumping out to a 1-0 lead, the B’s were outplayed for much of the first half of the game. The Flames were able possess the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches of play and maintain steady pressure on the B’s. They outshot Boston, 13-7, in the first period and built the lead to 21-12 by the middle of the second before the B’s picked it up and recorded five of the final six shots in the period.
-The B’s had a four-minute power play starting late in the second and carrying over to the third, but failed to score. It was a golden opportunity to up the lead to two and although the B’s created a few good chances, they couldn’t capitalize. It marked the first time in seven games Boston failed to score at least one power-play goal.
-With 3:04 to go, one of the last guys the B’s wanted in the penalty box was Bergeron, their top penalty-killing forward. But that’s exactly where he ended up after being called for a slash while pursuing the puck behind the Calgary net. The penalty ultimately cost Thomas his would-be league-leading eighth shutout.
|Shawn Thornton on D&H: Tomas Kaberle ‘one of the best defensemen in the league’||02.21.11 at 12:55 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, while on his way to the airport for the Bruins’ road trip that starts with a game Tuesday in Calgary, checked in with the Dale & Holley show Monday and talked about the team’s recent roster changes. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Asked if there was any tension around the team last week, Thornton acknowledged that there was. “There always is this time of year,” he said. “The media obviously reports it. I think it gets worse these days, with ‘I’m not bad-mouthing anybody, but ‘ countless blogs and stuff that nobody really has to [be accountable]. You can just throw stuff against the wall and hope it sticks. There’s a lot of names being thrown around nowadays. I think everybody’s hoping that they get one right. So, yeah, there’s a little bit of tension. I think the best thing to do is not try to pay too much attention to it.”
Thornton had high praise for new Bruins Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. “I’ve known Tomas for a long time,” he said. “We were in the minors together for a little bit, actually. The way he moves the puck and the way he sees the ice when he has the puck ‘ even without it ‘ he’s such a smart player. He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, and I think we’re very, very fortunate to have him.”
Of Kelly, Thornton said: “He can skate, he can shoot, he competes really hard. I think he’s a good pickup for us.”
Thornton said the adjustment period for the new Bruins shouldn’t be long, especially considering their age and the fact that Peverley comes from Atlanta, where first-year Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay is using a style similar to the one used when Ramsay was an assistant in Boston the past three seasons. “I think it should be pretty seamless, being that they’re older guys,” Thornton said. “Kelly, Peverly, Kaberle ‘ they’ve all been around the league a bunch. ‘¦ The fact that Kelly’s been in the league for six, seven years makes it a little easier than being maybe 20 or 21.”
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas challenged Canadiens netminder Carey Price to a fight when the teams met in Boston earlier this month. While it didn’t go so well for Thomas, Thornton was impressed with the effort and strategy. “His game plan was pretty good for a guy fighting somebody a lot bigger,” Thornton said. “I’ve actually used his game plan before. But when you miss your grab on the way in, sometimes it goes all out the window. And it did for him. But you know what? He did a good job. He protected himself well.
“He’ll be the first to tell you it wasn’t much of a fight. But that was the loudest I’ve heard the Garden I think in a long time, when those two squared off. It was pretty fun.”
|The cult-hero appeal of Rich Peverley||02.20.11 at 1:49 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Many are excited to see what newly acquired Bruins forward Rich Peverley brings to the Bruins on the ice, but what they may not know is that the once undrafted free agent was a bit of a cult hero in Atlanta.
Fans in Atlanta dressed in overalls (and the one in this video even furthered his game of dress-up) to support the 28-year-old, referring to themselves as the “Peverley Hillbillies.” Check out the video below (courtesy of the Thrashers’ official website) for a better look.
As for whether the guy featured in this video could potentially follow Peverley to Boston, the forward laughed.
“No,” he said. “I don’t think so.”
Looks like Bruins die-hards may have a new task.
|How is Adam McQuaid going to keep track of his nicknames?||02.20.11 at 1:44 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Remember the days when Adam McQuaid was “Adam McQuaid?” The defenseman has done some big things this season, proving himself a reliable enough blueliner to make Mark Stuart a healthy scratch for eight straight games and eventually expendable in a trade.
Yet for “‘Quaider,” as he’s more commonly known around the dressing room, he’s picked up more than experience and fighting majors this season. Matt Kalman of the Bruins Blog recently slapped him with the nickname “Lone Wolf” based on the Chuck Norris film “Lone Wolf McQuade,” but fellow defenseman Andrew Ference really upped the ante on Sunday. Here’s a picture that Bruins.com jack-of-all-trades John Bishop snapped Sunday of Ference’s new t-shirt.
Ference, who walked through the Bruins’ dressing room donning the tee, said that this was more than a light-hearted iron-on effort. He went online to customize the shirt.
“It’s high quality, huh?” Ference said with a laugh when asked about the effort put into making the shirt a reality.
McQuaid found the t-shirt amusing as well. He admitted he doesn’t quite know how he’ll keep up with all the nicknames, let alone suddenly becoming a brand name.
|Rich Peverley: ‘I want to get better’||02.20.11 at 1:33 pm ET|
Newly acquired Bruins forward Rich Peverley put on a Bruins sweater for the first time Sunday as he practiced with his teammates at Ristuccia Arena. After the skate, he reflected on the trade.
“It was a bit of a surprise, but [Thrashers coach] Craig Ramsey told me this was a team that has a chance to win,” Peverley said. “It’s a big thrill to be a part of a really historic organization and come into a team that has a chance to go pretty far in the playoffs.”
Coach Claude Julien said after practice that he will try the 28-year-old at wing on a line centered by Chris Kelly with Michael Ryder on the other wing. Peverley said he is more comfortable at center, but that he has no problem playing anywhere.
“That’s for the coach to decide. I could play either or,” Peverley said. “I’ve been playing center most of my career. I can play the wing, it’s not a problem. I played it in Nashville and Atlanta. Wherever he wants me to fit in, I’ll try to do that. There’s a lot of good offensive players here with tremendous talent, so I’m just going to try to work and create some chemistry with somebody.”
Peverley had 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points with Atlanta prior to the trade. With the way he spoke of his season to this point, he figures to hold higher hopes for his days in Boston.
“I was OK,” he said. “To be honest, it was kind of an up and down year. I wasn’t too pleased with my overall production on both ends of the rink. I was kind of hoping that the team would do a little bit better, but I’ve moved on and I’m glad to be here now.
“You always want to get better. You never want to cap yourself or put a ceiling [on your production]. I want to get better, and I’m looking at this as an opportunity to get better. Hopefully I can build on past years.”
Peverley wore No. 47 in Atlanta, but will wear No. 49 with the Bruins. He said he did not approach Steven Kampfer about the rookie potentially giving him his number.
“I’m not going to try to steal any numbers from anybody,” Peverley said. “I’m the new guy coming in. I just want to fit in.”
|Sunday scrimmage for Bruins||02.20.11 at 11:54 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Tomas Kaberle isn’t in town, but those packing the stands at Ristuccia in Wilmington get to see Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley for the first time. While that’s all fine and dandy, the real question of how these lines will shake out remains unanswered. Rather than wearing their traditional color-coded practice sweaters to indicate lines, the B’s wore black and white uniforms for a skate that included a scrimmage.
Unfortunately the scrimmage was of 4-on-4 variety, so the lines for the B’s with Peverley in the mix remain unknown. Check back for more following practice.